Change Of Heart Support Group

A monthly story of personal strength and courage. This month's story:


The Story of Roy Laney

It all started with a trip to Germany. The flight over was very long and stressful, I was pretty tired from all the working getting ready to go but I wanted to see my daughter. Her and her husband were stationed in Germany.

On the way home I began to get sick but ignored it, and thought I was just tired when we finally landed in Cincinnati Ohio. I was very confused and disoriented, I made two wrong turns getting out of the airport. When we arrived home I felt a little better, the next day we went to a restaurant to eat breakfast and I thought some of the people were on the plane with me. When we got home I cut the grass and told the wife I was gong to lay down for a few minutes. Then she heard a funny noise, I was gasping for air. She called 911 and then I was kicking on the bed, and flopping, I was dying. The paramedics were just a few blocks away gassing up there truck when the call came in, they responded immediately and got to me in about 3 minutes. They did C.P.R. for about 20 minutes and were wet with sweat, they keep losing me and trying again, they were the best two they had, I later learned, they saved my life.

They transported me to the hospital. My wife was crying and going crazy when I was being worked on, she could hardly talk, the police tried to tell her I was dead, but she wouldn't listen, I had the easy part, I had sudden death syndrome, and never felt a pain, just blacked out.

When we got to the hospital the doctors said I would never live, and even if I did, I would have brain damage, because my heart had stopped for so long. After four or five code blues at the hospital, the next day they said I had some brain waves but would probably be a vegetable, the Dr. that told my wife was ecstatic that I had anything at all. They say I woke up around the 4th day but all I remember is going to Cincinnati and the ambulance drivers asking me what day it was, I wasn't sure.

It was the 8th day, it felt like 10 minutes to me. I was at Christ hospital and the heart team was testing me. they said I had cardiomyopathy, and sudden death syndrome and needed a A. I. C. D. installed. I waited for about 6 months, then had it installed. Lucky for me, because I would have been dead if I didn't have it, it went off 8 times. It really shocked me a few times and I passed out some times. About 6 months from that I started getting sick, and throwing up every night and day and loosing weight, they said it was congestive heart failure. Some times I would see real bright stuff like I was going blind or something, must of been blood pressure I guess.

I changed Dr.'s trying to get better, but that didn't work, they put me in the hospital and installed a hickman and put a i-v in me and then sent me home, this was pretty close to Christmas so they told me to have it early that I might not make it. So I got a lot of stuff, then didn't die, so I felt guilty.

Then I went to U.C. and had them look at me, they changed my stuff and I was on home treatment with a pump and the nurse would come in and change the bag and battery once a day. I felt somewhat better but still keep loosing weight like crazy, then after about a month I really got sick and went back to U.C.. They had me coming back about once a week, finally I got a beeper to wait for a transplant.

I kept getting worse and finally they said they were going to admit me into the hospital to wait on a heart. The wife was wonderful through this, she stayed with me almost day and night, we took it one day at a time and enjoyed every day. We would sneak some goodies to eat as a snack every night. Boy after a long day of cleaning and testing those snacks were wonderful, its the little things that keep you going, your world shrinks to a small room. It's a very emotional time, you know that you either get a heart or die, but never see home again until you get a heart.

Well, I got mine and when they said I had a heart I about went nuts, I didn't know what to do, my wife said lets wait on the next one. But I said that's what we came for lets do it, boy did they get me quick and get me down into prep. a couple of shots and I was ready for anything. Hey, in nine days I got to go home. It was WONDERFUL at home, everything was new and wonderful, new life nothing like it. I tried to get back to normal but I don't think there is a normal after a heart transplant. Life is new and life is good, one day at a time ....Thanks to all the doctors, nurses and paramedics that helped to save my life, and especially to my wife, who helped me, for without them and the grace of God I wouldn't be writing this. My heart felt thanks!

-Roy Laney


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